From the editor's desk: Seeking a new North Star

By Audra Gamble | 12/11/16 10:46pm

editorial


In late August of 2013, I began my three-and-a-half-year stint with the Grand Valley Lanthorn. Hired on by the editor-in-chief before I ever moved on to campus, I distinctly remember asking the main source for my first story for the Lanthorn to meet me at the Cook Carillon Tower for our interview—unfamiliar with campus, I was too scared I’d get lost trying to find anywhere else.

From there, I’ve made my way from cub reporter to editor-in-chief. Throughout my time with the Lanthorn, I’ve done a great many things I never thought I’d get to do. I’ve reviewed plays, interviewed celebrities, covered national political debates, called grieving parents, filed Freedom of Information Act requests, become incredibly familiar with media law and managed a staff of 70 students.

While my diploma will state I graduated from Grand Valley State University, that’s not really true. In reality, I’m graduating from the school of the Grand Valley Lanthorn. Journalism is not something theoretical. You learn by doing, by getting your hands dirty. If that’s true, then I walked across that stage at Van Andel Arena and shook President Thomas Haas’ hand with a soot-covered, ink-stained and muddy hand of my own.

And there’s nothing that I’m more grateful for.

At commencement Saturday, Dec. 10, GVSU professor Robert Stevenson offered the newest group of alumni an African proverb to consider: "Do not sail using someone else's star."

For most members of the Laker community, the Lanthorn is just something to pick up on their way to class and then probably throw away before reading anything more than a headline or two.

But for me, the Lanthorn has been late nights, massive triumphs and devastating failures, an unacceptable amount of coffee for one human to consume, missing class to cover events, early meetings with administrators, incredible friends and the entirety of my college experience. For me, the Lanthorn has been my North Star to sail by at GVSU.

In the last three-and-a-half years, the Lanthorn staff has done some amazing things. We’ve redesigned our website twice, launched podcasts, covered protests and sexual assaults, won national awards, collaborated with other student media, covered more national championship winning sports teams than I can count and so much more. I couldn’t be any prouder of our staff, and so should be GVSU students, faculty and staff.

This issue marks the 216th edition of the Lanthorn I’ve been a part of. In that time, I’ve edited more than 2,800 articles, written more than 100 stories, contributed to dozens of editorials, taken photos and sent out more social media posts than anyone would care to count.

But now, with this final issue of the Lanthorn, I am turning off my computer, packing my things and handing the reins off to the next editor-in-chief, Hannah Lentz. I’m equal parts terrified, ecstatic and devastated to be leaving the Lanthorn.

But one thing I’m not is fearful. I know that I’m leaving GVSU in the fully capable hands of a passionate, determined journalistic staff, and I can’t wait to see what they do next. As for me, it's time I find a new North Star to chart my course by.

Stay tuned, Lakers. I know great things are in the Lanthorn’s future.

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